A divorce in Texas can be one of two things – contested or uncontested.
In a contested divorce, the spouses cannot come to an agreement over the divorce, which may mean not being able to agree on all or one of the following: division of assets, divisions of debts, custody, child support, alimony, or other items. In the case of a contested divorce, the Court will eventually make the decision for the parties and finalize the divorce.
An uncontested divorce in Texas means the spouses have agreed to all the terms of the divorce, and are simply ready to file the paperwork and push it through the Court. An uncontested divorce is therefore much less emotionally and financially draining, as there is little to no argument as the divorce is pushed through the Court.
An uncontested divorce begins with a petition for divorce filed by one of the spouses (Petitioner). Once this is done, the other spouse (the Respondent) typically files a “Waiver of Service,” which is a type of document confirming that there is no need to formally serve the divorce unto the Respondent. Then, the parties negotiate and sign an “Agreed Final Decree of Divorce,” which contains whatever items aforementioned before which are applicable: division of assets, divisions of debts, custody, child support, alimony, and so on.
Once this is done, the “Agreed Final Decree of Divorce” is filed with the Court with the signatures of the Petitioner and Respondent, and their attorneys.
It is important to note that the divorce has to have been filed and on the books with the Court for 60 days before the Judge will look at the decree. So even if everything is pre-agreed upon, the parties still have to wait 60 days from the time the divorce is filed, per Texas Family Code. Once the 60 days are up, the divorce can be finalized.
Finalization of the divorce in Texas is done by something called a “prove up.” A prove up is an appearance in person before the Court by one party to confirm the specifics of the Agreed Final Decree of Divorce and that this is all in agreement. Typically, a prove up is basically a quick script which is run through by the attorney and the appearing party before the Judge, and the Judge may ask some questions to clarify or verify the aspects of the divorce. Once this is done, the Judge will sign the Agreed Final Decree of Divorce, and the divorce is finalized.
Depending on the Court, other documents may need to be filed for an uncontested divorce besides the ones mentioned above. Many courts require additional documents such as a Financial Inventory Statement, Sworn Inventory and Appraisal, and so on. The BVS form VS-165 is always needed.
Divorces may start out contested, but become uncontested as the parties come to an agreement. Of course, it may always be the other way around. One more thing important to realize is that the terms “contested” or “uncontested” are terms for clarification, but these are not actually legal terms – nothing in the Texas Family Code discusses a “contested” or “uncontested” divorce, but the courts have adopted this verbiage to differentiate between divorces that can be handled quickly (uncontested), and, ones that may take a long time (contested).
If you require an attorney for an uncontested divorce, the attorneys at Ilionsky Law, PLLC are standing by to provide you with experienced counsel to expertly handle your uncontested divorce from start to finish. Give us a call at (713) 482-1974 to discuss your options and how we may help you.